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Business SuccessPlanning ahead along with strong organizational skills play a big part in achieving your goals. As Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.”

Whether it’s meeting with a new client, creating a social content calendar or drafting paperwork to finalize a transaction, real estate agents are constantly on the move. With so much to do, it can be difficult figuring out where to start. There will always be a long list of tasks you should complete, but prioritizing the crucial ones can help you get organized and start the year off strong. Implement these five tips and be ready to take your business to the next level in 2016.

1. Get Organized
One of the most important things you can do to prepare your business for the upcoming year is to get organized. First, if you haven’t been keeping up with it throughout the year, take a look at your over-crowded inbox. It’s time to clean it out to make sure you won’t miss any important incoming emails. Next, spend some time updating your business card and marketing materials. Are they current? Do they have the right information? If you’re looking for an easy way to give your materials a fresh look, you can update the images and add your social handles. After this, confirm your personal information is up-to-date on your website, along with your agent profiles on national real estate sites. Include any big accomplishments or new certifications you’ve earned over the past year. Remember, your website is often the first impression you make on a potential client; make sure it reflects the best side of your business. Finally, it’s time to lose that glamor shot from 1998 and update your headshot with something more current. You don’t want your clients to be shocked when they finally meet you in person.

2. Update Your Social Channels
Once you’ve organized your personal materials, it’s time to look at your social channels. Be sure all of your social media platforms link back to your website. If you want an easy way to do this, has a widget that, once added, can keep all your sites current. Once you know viewers will be able to find your social pages, be sure that they all direct back to you. Update your personal information, verifying that you have the correct phone and address listed. Remember, if your followers can’t contact you through your page, your social channels will not generate new leads. Lastly, if you’ve been using the same profile and cover picture for the past two years, it’s time to update your page with fresh graphics. If you need help with this, Social is here for you.

3. Keep in Touch with Your Clients
While getting organized is necessary, as an agent, your most important task is bringing in new clients. Setting up easy ways to keep in touch with your clients now can help you avoid stress when your schedule is tight. Look at your contact lists and segment them into groups, such as “new clients,” “millennial buyers” or “clients with families,” or divide them by their location in your city. In doing this, you’ll be able to target groups with specific marketing pieces to ensure you are hitting them with a message that’s more personal to them. This will save you time in the future when you only want to send a local neighborhood announcement to a select group of people. Once you have your contact list organized, create something you can send to them in the upcoming year. Work to customize at least one new email touch campaign. Creating something like “Hidden Gems of the Neighborhood” or “Landscaping Tips to Improve Home Equity” will give you material that can be sent year-round, saving you time during peak season. Finally, to make sure you don’t miss any of your clients’ special days, set notifications for birthdays and other key dates in your calendar so you’ll remember to send out a special message and connect with them throughout the year.

4. Check your Online Presence
If a potential client is looking for a home in your area, you’ll want to show up in their search results. If your online presence is lacking, you might be missing out on potential new lead opportunities. Because of this, you should verify your business listing on all major search engines. A good place to start is Google Local, and then work your way out from there. Once you have an online presence, be sure you have some kind of feedback from your past clients. According to BrightLocal, 80 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, so make sure your reviews are available for potential clients to see. If you don’t have any online reviews, ask your current clients to add some feedback. If they’re willing to give you a review, you can add it to your own website.

5. Create Content Ideas
Finally, while you’re still in planning mode, come up with some content ideas that can drive your business forward in the coming year. A great place to start is to review your 2015 statistics so you know where you need to set your goals for 2016. How many blog or social posts did you create last year? Which ones received the highest engagement? What’s a realistic monthly goal you could set? Once you have these numbers, you’ll be able to start creating content ideas. Research your competitors’ advertisements and content to help you come up with new and different ideas. If something is working for them, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Just add a personal touch to draw the focus to your business.

Once you’ve crossed the short-term tasks off of your to-do list, you’ll find it much easier to create and implement a long-term business strategy that will make 2016 your most successful year yet. While these are just a few tips, you can download our full Business Planning Checklist for 15 tasks to get your business ready for 2016. If you want some social tips, too, check out our Social Media Checklist to discover ways to improve your social strategy and start turning “followers” into clients.

As we close this year and begin 2016, all of us at wish you a wonderful holiday season and much prosperity in the coming year!